In the first part of this article, we were reminded that better things await us, and that we should strengthen others who are struggling with their own burdens.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Galatians 6:1-3 NASB
However, in our own lives, when the path seems long or the weight seems heavy, sometimes a bit of perspective makes the burden tolerable. On days when the morning brings miserable rain or cold, I can walk from the parking lot into the building where I work, as long as I tell myself that 1) the weather isn’t severe enough to permanently harm me, and 2) it will only last for a certain amount of time. (And, as I’m getting frozen or drenched because I forgot my coat or umbrella, I’m reminded of what I heard that my great-grandmother used to say: “Where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling”!)
In reality, looking at the challenges in our lives from the perspective of eternity can sometimes soften the blow. Knowing that we only have to face the difficulties – whether small or great – in this fallen earth for a time, and not forever, can make them more bearable. We might feel that a red light, a recital, or a road trip is taking forever, but there is a forever much longer than any of those ever last.
I won’t pretend to be able to take your pain away. I know that Jesus stays with you through the toughest times, but some days still seem dark when we don’t feel His presence. Still, He is faithful, and – for those who have accepted His offer of spending eternity with Him in Heaven – better things await.
Let us do our best to power through – but not just through some sort of “inner strength” or personal willpower. Let us get through with help: with the power of both corporeal and spiritual help that God makes available to us; and with the power of a community working together for the good of each other. Let us drive through our challenges to get to the finish line, and to do our part here on earth. Our goal is that, when we are done, we can look forward to receiving the blessing of God.
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 25:34 NASB
While still here on earth, though, we may need something to look forward to. Sometimes (often?), the daily battle can wear on us. The passage below from Hebrews offers some motivation:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB
And, if we stay with it, we may be able to say, with Paul, that we have kept faithful until the end:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 NASB
Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Like the hometown favorite in a long race, battling the pain of fatigue, the heroes of the faith can inspire us, even as our church family cheers us on. Jesus is right there alongside you, and the celebration at the finish line (even if it is still a long ways away) will be awesome!